Forest Restoration ~ Introduction and Quick Reading Summary

The South Leigh Forest Restoration is the idea of local resident, David Brooks, who is autistic. It is based on his concern for the environment and the depletion of woodland over time, mainly by farming and urbanisation.

THE VISION: 'To regrow the South Leigh Forest of the past as closely as possible.'


  1. To plant 200 trees in and around South Leigh in each of the next five years and so
  2. Achieve 1,000 plantings by 2025.
  3. New targets will be set for ensuing years.
  4. At no cost to the Parish Council. The indicative budget for 2020 is 1,000.

  1. The scheme will be self-funding. Money will be raised and materials sourced by volunteers who will run the scheme.
  2. This plan was agreed by the South Leigh Parish Council on 7th January 2020.
  3. Expert advice will be sought, throughout.
  4. The Parish Clerk is investigating liability and insurance issues.
  5. It will report to the PC as appropriate.
  6. It will be an inclusive, well-communicated community programme for all ages and abilities.

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Steering group: David Brooks, John Ashwell, Martin Spurrier. Volunteers will source and plant trees,and their sites, in and around South Leigh. In the early phases, locations visible to the public and in close proximity to the centres of habitation, will be given priority.

There will be single-tree and multiple-tree plantings. It is planned to expand from single trees to copses of 20 or more, later.

The trees will range from 'self-set' seedlings of a few inches to larger potted and / or 'established' trees. This is a long-term programme, although every effort will be made to make a positive visual impact as early as is practicable.

  1. Land owners' consents will be requested and recorded in every case.
Today's global environment is in crisis and trees naturally address the causes of global warming. The scheme also supports the rural tenet of our Neighbourhood Plan and endorses the importance of our countryside setting and bucolic views.

This outline plan addresses the next five years, although it is hoped that the scheme will continue indefinitely.

For further information, please contact Martin Spurrier

  01993 702808  or    07799 368464


Forest Restoration ~ October 2020 update

It’s been a year and a month since David Brooks wrote in the South Leigh Newsletter, "Let’s grow trees for the Parish and the world - I have had an idea that I would like to share with residents of South Leigh”… and not for a moment since has that ambition diminished. However, this simple idea proved to be quite hard to implement, BUT we are finally ready to dig!

Why so long? We’ll save you a lot of time by providing here just the results of the last ten months since we received the Parish Council’s go ahead, rather than detail the processes!

We now have in place:

Four planting sites agreed with their landowners / lease holder. Click on the map for an enlarged version. They are:

  1. Chapel Road, north side.
  2. Football field, north and east sides. *
  3. Just Cartridges drive, east side.
  4. Stanton Harcourt Road at Warners Farm / the drive to Tarwood Lodge.
* The Football Field agreement is pending the imminent renewal of the lease by Eynsham Park Estate.

Chapel Road residents’ agreement
  • Signed landowners’ legal agreements.
  • Approved landowner planting plans.
  • Insurance.
  • Finance.

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My Image

Map © Google Earth

Map © Google Earth

With regard to money, we are not quite there but we have the scheme underwritten, anyway. We have submitted an application (20+ pages, twice!) to TOE (Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment) for the princely sum of £238.15, and their advisor has been here and inspected each of the sites with us. We’ll hear in December.

The Chapel Road planting is not included in the TOE submission because Mike Kirk of the Old Chapel and Hadingham Kirk Gardens has kindly given those 2 metre trees to us, as he did the 7 metre elms at the Just Cartridges’ drive back in April on Captain Tom’s (now Colonel Sir Tom’s) 100th birthday!

We have purchased privately the petrol auger and hedge cutting kit, we have the stakes and shelters in stock, and we have made a 500 litre water bowser. We also have some funds for the mulch and water bags, if needed. So, that took a year!

But, in the next few months we will have planted our first 79 trees, despite Corvid-19!

We plan to start preparing the Chapel Road ground next week, all being well. Anyone who would like to help will be most welcome. Just contact Martin for details:

Thank you to landowners: Eynsham Park Estate and their agents, Savills and Mr. & Mrs David Bury. Also to Mike Kirk, Councillor Charles Mathew and the South Leigh Parish Council, all of whom have made it possible.

Martin Spurrier (09.10.2020)
  07799 369464 or

Forest Restoration ~ An outline plan

David's vision is:

'To regrow the South Leigh Forest of the past as closely as possible'

South Leigh view

Looking south east across the de-forested parish


  1. To plant 200 trees in and around South Leigh in each of the next five years and so
  2. To achieve 1,000 plantings by 2025.
  3. New targets will be set for ensuing years.
  4. At no cost to the Parish Council. The indicative budget for 2020 is £1,000.
How will the Objectives be achieved?

It is easy to try to do too much, in too many places, too soon and thus dilute effort and reduce visible results. The Objectives shall be achieved, therefore, through the scheme being:

Simple, Focussed, Visible, Inclusive, and at no cost to the Parish Council.
If any planned activity does not answer positively to these five criteria, it is not on strategy and should not be pursued.

South Leigh Forest Restoration

The Plan will require the following tasks to be performed under the following headings:

  1. Administration / preparation
  2. Funding and Finance
  3. Land
  4. Trees and Protection

Lone trees
  1. Administration / preparation

  1. Establishing the management team and relationship with the Parish Council.
  2. Establishing the communication structure and communications plan. Recruiting additional volunteers.
  3. Deciding what needs to be done and by whom. Scheduling the work.

  1. Funding and Finance

  1. Income.
  2. Expenditure.

  1. Land

  1. Identifying sites.
  2. Seeking and gaining land owners' agreements.

  1. Trees and Protection

  1. Types of tree planting.
  2. Sourcing stakes and tree shelters.
  3. Seeking technical advice.
  4. Planting.
  5. Ongoing maintenance.

  1. Administration

1.1. Establishing the management team and relationship with the Parish Council.

The steering committee comprises David Brooks, John Ashwell and Martin Spurrier. John Ashwell has offered to represent the PC. Other members would be recruited.

1.2. Establishing the communication structure and communications plan recruiting additional volunteers.

Reporting to whom, when and how? The PC reporting obligations will be established and recorded.

The Parish Clerk is investigating appropriate liability and insurance issues and is checking whether the scheme is covered by existing policies.

Keeping the PC and the community informed will ensure that this is a ‘community’ project. We shall use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as e-mail and the Parish website.

We shall involve the media to generate interest in the scheme both for recruiting volunteers and funding. We shall be approaching local schools, especially Forest Schools and those that South Leigh children attend, to encourage their involvement.

We will also seek to place stories and updates in the South Leigh Newsletter and communicate via the PC’s email list and the village website to generate two-way communications (as well as to recruit volunteers to help, especially youngsters!).

1.3. Deciding what needs to be done and by whom.

This is the role of any group management in order to ensure efficiency and to avoid duplication and wasted effort.

  1. Establishing a budget and funding

2.1. Income: There will be three principal sources of income:

  1. Private contributions in cash and time: Where individuals wish to contribute either, they will be encouraged to do so and this will be recorded appropriately.
  2. Private funding for ‘dedicated’ trees: Where donors wish to pay for a specific planting. This may be a single tree or many. Such trees may also have dedications attached to them in an appropriate manner. Later we may formalise fund raising, perhaps under categories e.g. Oak, Ask, Willow etc.
  3. Government and NGO funds / grants: There are many grants available and, over time, we shall research each and apply for them as appropriate e.g. OVO Energy, the Oxfordshire Woodland Group, Forest of Oxford, the Woodland Trust, The National Forest, DEFRA’s Woodland Creation Planning Grant, The Tree Council’s Tree Future’s Grant Scheme, The Forestry Commission, International Tree Foundation, United Nations Environmental ‘Plant for the Planet’ programme etc all have schemes.
2.2. Expenditure: There are four principal cost items (until we use contractors, i.e. labour costs, for large-scale planting):
  1. Trees
  2. Tree shelters
  3. Stakes
  4. Cable ties
(See Appendix A for more detail).

  1. Land

3.1. Identifying sites: This will start immediately and all will be plotted on a map for reference.

3.2. Seeking and gaining permission: We have sounded out the Eynsham Estate contractor with a positive response. The Estate and other land owners will be approached, accordingly. We have already received one dedication request.

Where it is common land or land owned or controlled by the OCC, we shall keep the PC informed.

Planting on verges can be done under Section 142 of the Highways Act through application to the OCC.

  1. Trees and Protection

4.1. Types of tree planting: It is envisaged that there will be three:

Hedgerow planting / protection: Here, ‘self set’ saplings of a few inches tall (right) will be found along existing hedge lines, and ‘rescued’. They will be cleared of grass (their worst enemy even before rabbits!), at no cost, and then staked and provided with a tree shelters for protection, at a cost. At this size, they can also easily be moved (we have 30 potted already, see end for pictures). Larger, well positioned saplings will be treated similarly but without re-location.

Specific plantings: Here, individual members of the Parish may wish to pay for a tree, or several, to be planted in a specific place and, maybe, for a specific purpose. One such request/offer has already been received. Tree sizes will depend on the project.

Copse creation: Here, later in the programme, we envisage the planting of copses of say 20 trees upwards to several acres.

4.2: Sourcing stakes and tree shelters. See Appendix A.

We shall seek professional advice before making novice mistakes. We shall always seek to have such expert advice provided on a complimentary basis (see end for references).

In order to achieve the objective and not to over promise nor to over expect, it is proposed to take ‘baby steps’ (multiple phases) both in the scope of work and in the geographic distance from the centre of population. We shall regard Lymbrook Close as the centre.

4.4. Planting: This can occur generally at any time although the best is early spring, say February/March, depending on the weather (for the planters, not the trees!). We see there being two phases in the first year, Phase 1 being ‘self-set trees’ and Phase 2 being 'purchased trees'. The timing will depend largely upon permission from land owners.

4.5. Ongoing maintenance.
Fortunately, there is little maintenance to the hedgerow tree plantings. Simply removing grass now and then and replacing any trees that do not survive. In Martin Spurrier's experience this is significantly less than 10 percent. We shall keep a map showing every tree site and will ensure that they are checked and maintained periodically.


This is a simple and endearing environmental scheme initiated by a 25-year-old local resident. Many will benefit from it - those in the South Leigh community who choose to become involved as well as those who choose otherwise. It will also add to the area's natural beauty that is enjoyed by a much wider population.

The scheme endorses the Neighbourhood Plan and will further beautify the village and its surroundings; it will help address global warming; it will provide habitat for fauna, and it will replace forest lost to progress. Everyone will benefit while it will cost the Parish Council nothing.

Estimated Costs and Indicative Budget

Tree shelters and Stakes (best purchased together):

There are numerous suppliers on the internet and three quotes are below for information. However, through our own local trade contacts, it may be possible to buy at more competitive prices and to ‘involve’ local firms. These quotes are for 100 of each, but the unit cost is less for 300 upwards.

Internet prices

Tubex Tree Shelter 1.2m (If we buy 100)

Softwood treated stakes 1.2m (If we buy 100)

Britishhardwood *


69p each



63p each

Gardensupplies (eBay)


£1.69 each

* Martin Spurrier uses Britishhardwood and finds them very responsive plus there are further discounts available.

Based on the above guidelines, here is the proposed indicative budget for 2020:

Indicative initial budget for 2020

Phase 1: Protection for 'self-set' hedgerow protected / 'rescued' trees:
Trees: nil
Labour: nil
200 x tree shelters, stakes and cable ties: £650

Phase 2: Purchased trees:

Indicative tree purchase - say the Woodland Trust 'starter packs' x 3 = £150
Tree 'whips' and up to 500mm at approx. £1-3 per tree, say = £200
TOTAL: £1,000

Every effort will be made to achieve the best prices through supplier and trade contacts, in which case, surplus funds will be held for tree purchases.

Notes for background information and reference:
Expert advice: We shall approach the Woodland Trust, which provides such services free. Others include The Forest of Oxford, which is linked to the Oxfordshire Woodland Group (a registered charity that we should probably join) and part of the Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum (ONCF), Natural England and CPRE. All offer assistance, some also provide grants, as noted above.

OCC Tree Team is: 0345 3101111.
Trees: The Woodland Trust provides free packs to schools and communities (see below). However, we need to have the permission of the landowner and the grid references before applying for them. Distribution is in March so we may not have time for this by March 2020 (but we shall try). We shall definitely do this for 2021.

Tree costs: Woodland Trust sells Copse Starter Packs of 30 saplings for £49.95. See below:
For general information, the blog, ‘arbtalk’ cites £5,500 for 10 acres planting 60cm ‘whips’. This includes shelters and stakes but no fencing. Thus, the unit cost is dramatically lower for large plantings.

Whips and small trees (500mm) cost £1-3 each and mature trees of 7-12 m tall cost about £200 each.

Woodland Trust Copse starter pack

"Create a piece of paradise with this copse pack. Plant a mini forest school classroom or a peaceful spot that’s an oasis for birds. With 30 trees per pack, you will receive Silver birch, Rowan and Wild cherry, perfect for your own small, tranquil copse.

Estimate full grown height: Rowan: 8-15m, Silver birch: 15-20m and Wild cherry: 18-25m.
Purchase size and growth: These trees are cell-grown saplings, ranging from approximately 15cm-60cm in height. Cell grown trees can be planted all year round in most situations as long as they are given the correct care. Please be aware that depending upon the time of year you receive your sapling (particularly early spring) it may not look very perky upon arrival, please do not worry once it has been planted it should pick up quickly".

For further information, please contact Martin Spurrier

  01993 702808  or    07799 368464